Device implementation allows physicians to insert small mechanisms into the patient's body to treat a variety of symptoms. A cardiac pacemaker, which helps a heart function properly, is just one example of the tools now available to electrophysiologists.
- Cardiac Pacemaker
- Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD)
- Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT)
- Laser Lead Extraction
A cardiac pacemaker is a small, battery-powered device that is implanted permanently into the body. The pacemaker monitors the electrical impulses in the heart and, when needed, delivers electrical stimuli to make the heart beat (contract) in a more normal rhythm.
This device is used when the heart beats too slowly (bradycardia) or has other abnormal rhythms (arrhythmias). In some cases, cardiac pacemakers are also used to treat the symptoms of heart failure.
A cardiac pacemaker consists of a battery and electrical circuitry (pulse generator). The battery powers the pacemaker. The circuitry checks the heart rate and produces tiny electrical pulses that keep the heart beating at the correct pace.
A cardiac pacemaker is connected to the heart through one to three insulated wires (leads) that are attached directly to the heart's chambers.
Back to top
Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD)
An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a device that monitors heart rhythms and delivers shocks when dangerous rhythms are detected.
Many ICDs record the heart's electrical patterns whenever an abnormal heartbeat occurs. Doctors can review this record during regular check-ups to help plan future treatment options.
ICDs are used to treat patients whose lower heart chambers (ventricles) beat too quickly (tachycardia) or quiver ineffectively (fibrillation). They are also used in patients who are at risk of these conditions due to previous cardiac arrest, heart failure or ineffective drug therapy for abnormal heart rhythms.
An ICD consists of a battery and electrical circuitry (pulse generator) connected to one or more insulated wires. The pulse generator and batteries are sealed together and implanted under the skin, usually near the shoulder. The wires are threaded through blood vessels from the ICD to the heart muscle.
The ICD continuously checks the heart rate. When it detects a heartbeat that is irregular or too rapid, it delivers a shock that resets the heart to a more normal rate and electrical pattern (cardioversion).
Implantation of an ICD can be a life-saving measure in people prone to developing fast heart rhythms, such as some individuals with heart failure or a history of heart attacks.
Back to top
Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT)
Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT), also referred to as biventricular pacing, is used for patients with congestive heart failure. Unlike typical pacemakers, special pacemakers that coordinate the beating for both the left and right ventricles are used for CRT.
CRT can benefit patients with moderate to severe congestive heart failure symptoms, weakened and/or enlarged heart muscles, or a significant electrical delay in the lower pumping chambers of the heart. It has been shown to improve a person's energy level and quality of life.
Back to top
Laser Lead Extraction
Laser lead extraction is a method of extracting old wires (leads) from pacemakers or other implanted devices before inserting new devices. Over time, the lead that connects the device to the heart can become attached to the vein's wall. A laser is used to burn through tissue surrounding the lead. This enables the physician to more easily remove the lead and minimizes the risk to the vein.
Dr. Chun is a leading expert in laser lead extraction and has the most extensive experience in the Bay Area.
Back to top